Black and minority ethnic access to HE

This study compared the experience of university applicants from 14 black and minority ethnic groups with the experience of white British candidates. It focused on two questions:

1. Are candidates from black and minority ethnic groups less inclined to apply to higher status institutions than white British candidates?

2. Are candidates from black and minority ethnic groups less likely to receive offers from university (and from higher status institutions in particular) than white British applicants?

Key findings:
  • Applicants from non-mixed 'race' minority groups were significantly less likely to be offered a university place even after taking into account academic attainment, family social class background, sex and the type of school attended.
  • Mixed 'race' groups did not appear to be disadvantaged compared to white British candidates.
  • The probability of receiving an offer was significantly linked to the type of school candidates attended and their A-level subjects as well as their academic attainment. Having attended an independent or grammar school – rather than a non-selective school – increased students' chances of receiving an offer.
  • In terms of application patterns, black and minority ethnic groups differed in their likelihood of applying to higher status institutions: some were more likely to target high status institutions than white British candidates, while some were less likely to do so.

The researchers looked at 50,000 university candidates provided by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) covering the 2008 admission cycle.